Parashas Tazria

This week’s parashah deals with nigei tzaraas: leprous-like skin lesions that  would come upon a person for speaking loshon hara or comitting certain other offenses (Arachin 16a lists six others – murder, false swearing, immoral relations, haughtiness, theft, and stinginess). The parashah describes how a person who developed a suspect lesion would go to a Kohen to have it examined. The Midrash, in Vayikra Rabbah 15:9, comments that in this world it is the Kohen who examines such lesions, but in the end of days the Holy One Blessed Be He will be the One to purify us, as it is written (Yechezkel 36:25, a verse from the haftarah of parashas Parah): “I shall sprinkle upon you pure waters, and you shall be purified.” The Maggid, at the end of Ohel Yaakov, parashas Tazria, sets out to explain this Midrash.
The Maggid builds on the following verse (Shemos 15:26): “If you diligently heed the voice of Hashem your God, and you do what is right in His eyes, and you harken to His commandments, and you observe all His decrees – all of the illness I inflicted upon Egypt I shall not inflict upon you, for I am Hashem your Healer.” He points up the obvious question: If we are not going to be subjected to illness, why do we need Hashem to be our Healer?
The Maggid explains as follows. The disease of tzaraas was a result of a spiritual illness. When a person was plagued with a grave spiritual illness (associated with the seven offenses listed above), Hashem would afflict him with tzaraas. The person would then go to the Kohen to be examined. In addition to examining the person, the Kohen would give him moral exhortation, so as to heal him from his spiritual illness. [At present, we are unfortunately not privileged to have this healing mechanism available: tzaraas is no longer extant, and its laws are thus no longer in operation.] In the end of days, Hashem will purify us and lead us to heed His Torah, which is His book of remedies for spiritual ills. We then will not need to undergo the experience of suffering tzaraas and going to the Kohen; Hashem Himself will be our Healer. Let us strive already now to study and keep the Torah diligently, so that we may attain spiritual well-being.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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